Former NJ cop pleads guilty to manslaughter

March 30, 2009 2:35:01 PM PDT
Former Millville, New Jersey police officer Robert Vanaman issued a guilty plea for 2nd degree manslaughter in the death of his wife.The plea came Monday during jury selection. Vanaman was to be tried on first degree murder charges in the death of Barbara Vanaman.

She was shot and killed inside their home in the 2200 block of South Wedgewood Court in Millville back in November 2006.

Vanaman said he was arguing with his wife when she picked up a knife, forcing him to shoot her to death. He admitted to making self-inflicted knife wounds to say he was attacked.

The prosecutor tells Action News the family of Barbara Vanaman is pleased with the plea, saying they were concerned Vanaman would not be convicted of first degree murder.

Sentencing is set for May 1st.

Vanaman remains free on bail.

Vanaman was a 15-year veteran of the police force and had just been promoted to sergeant two months before the killing. He served the police as a technology officer and supervised the dispatch and records divisions.

Authorities said the couple's two children, ages 3 and 13 at the time, were not home at the time of the shooting.

Vanaman faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for manslaughter.

A murder conviction could have meant 30 years to life.

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